Chicken in Thyme Marsala Cream Sauce
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced or chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Place a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and then place in the pan and brown for 2 to 3 minutes*, until the chicken has given up a bit of its fat, and you can move the pieces around. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, until nearly cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a separate bowl and set aside.
(*If using chicken breast, add a couple of teaspoons of oil first; thighs already have just enough fat around the edges to get the job done.)
Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt to the chicken fat in the pan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the Marsala wine, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the stock, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and bring just to a boil. Cook until the sauce has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the half and half and the peas, stir, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve over orzo (or rice).
I’m really proud of this impromptu dish. I was planning on making chicken marsala with a side of buttered rice and peas, but as luck would have it, I saw a status update from The Saucy Southerner on her Facebook page that mentioned sherry and cream and shallots and butter. My gears started turning and I thought maybe I could make it all one dish, with chunks of chicken simmered in a marsala cream sauce…
The end result is a riff on my Chicken in Tarragon Mustard Cream Sauce and just like garlic, white wine, cream and mustard are “obvious” together, so, too, are shallots, Marsala, cream and thyme. It really can’t fail.
Even at that, it exceeded my expectations. I loved this dish so, so much. Instantly repeatable. Sweet, savory, with amazing depth… and reminiscent of something I can’t quite put my finger on… like a prelude to fall.